The Morse Avenue station opened this weekend to ooohs, aaahs, and much praise from the Rogers Park community. The six-week rehab effort by the CTA and crews of workers earns an A-minus from CTA Tattler.
A gorgeous, newly expanded stationhouse greets Morse patrons with more turnstiles, more elbow room and bright new white-tile walls and terrazzo flooring. One of the turnstiles is wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair and appropriately signed. But I hope a wheelchair-bound customer isn't expecting to find an elevator. I found that to be slightly confusing.
Despite that minor quibble, there are lots of good things to be said about the rehab, part of the CTA's $86 million Red North Station Interim Improvements project. "It's so much cleaner, and so much less smelly," a 20-something woman remarked to her friends as they made their way to the platform.
At the platform-level, they found a concrete platform to replace the rotting wood boards, new signage, two heat lamps. four wooden benches and four garbage cans. For those counting (me), that's one more bench and garbage can than you'll find at the newly rehabbed Granville station about a mile away.
However, there's one thing better at Granville: The plexiglass in the stairway enclosure fits tighter there than at Morse. Several of the panels were loose to the touch at Morse, a detail that lowered my grade to an A-minus. But that may yet be fixed. Other items yet to finished are the curtain walls on the vacant storefronts at Morse and Lunt. And there's plenty of viaduct work yet to be done at Lunt.
And speaking of Lunt, the enclosed entrance is handsome, but the door frame is about six inches from the card reader one taps to enter. That's a tad too close for my taste.
Regardless, the Morse rehab is now the gold standard for the other five stations yet to be done this year. Thorndale will close late on Friday for six weeks. It suffers from many of the same problems that Morse did. (See my "before" photos of Morse for a catalog.) Time will tell if the CTA solves them as well as they fixed the problems at Morse Avenue.